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CS Mutua explains last-minute rescheduling of Iranian president's visit

Journalists had already been dispatched to State House, Nairobi where the two presidents were set to meet

A collage of President William Ruto and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has decided to reschedule his planned visit to Kenya, according to State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed.

This visit was part of a three-day official tour that included stops in Uganda and Zimbabwe, marking the first visit to these countries by an Iranian President in over a decade.

The last-minute rescheduling of the visit has raised questions.

State House Press Secretary, Emmanuel Talam, had invited journalists to a joint press briefing scheduled for 9:00 am, but it was called off following the announcement of the visit's cancellation.

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In a statement, Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua explained that President Raisi's visit was reviewed to allow for finalization of key MoUs that are central to the furtherance of relations between Kenya and Iran.

He said that the Iranian president is now expected to arrive on Wednesday, July 12.

"The President will be at State House at 7.00am tomorrow for a bilateral meeting. He will, thereafter, proceed to lay a wreath at the Mausoleum of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta before proceeding to tour other African countries," CS Mutua's statement read in part.

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President William Ruto had extended an official invitation to President Raisi, with the intention of discussing various areas of mutual interest.

These topics included trade expansion, energy cooperation, advancements in agriculture, and technological collaboration.

Additionally, both leaders were expected to sign cooperation agreements to strengthen the trade links between the two countries.

Iran's delegation, consisting of the foreign minister and influential business figures, was also scheduled to participate in these discussions.

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On July 10, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Nasser Kanani, expressed his enthusiasm for the trip, highlighting its potential as a turning point for the economic relations between Iran and African nations.

He emphasized the importance of enhancing economic ties and attributed the current harmonious relations between Iran and Kenya to their shared political views.

Kanani also mentioned Iran's commitment to intensify diplomatic efforts, particularly in response to the economic sanctions imposed in 2018 after the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal.

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